There's always a mood after a mens fashion week ends. That mood is usually characterized by the fact that much of what you saw you may never see come to fruition. Why? Well mainly due to the fact that not everything in the collection is going to be purchased by the buyer, some pieces may just be too costly to offer for retail and some things may be reworked and retweaked to make them more 'retail friendly'. So while it is very easy to get excited by the newness of the collections, given the way popular culture devours, chews and spits up creations nowadays, it's better to take collections in stride. Meaning, remember key pieces but also absorb the mood of the collections that will be hitting stores half a year from the time they're shown. It's this mood, these trends and these directions that will trickle down and be interpreted everywhere from trusted your bespoke guy to Bergdorf to Banana Republic to even the bargain basement (perhaps).
There was a lot of cool clothing to absorb from the Paris Mens Fall 2013 Collections that ended a couple days ago. Take Givenchy for example. Riccardo Tisci loves a bold statement. His collection was quite noir in its black, white and grey palette and a continued showcasing of his love affair with religious iconography and easy sportswear shapes like tees and sweatshirts. This season he uses prints to cite his love affair with America and pared down athletic silhouettes to convey masculinity but luxed up to show an almost tactile femininity. The jackets and coats were largely collarless and tailored exquisitely and had details like oversize patch pockets and elongated zips ergonomically placed down the model's sides. It was a dark and inspiring collection that showed strength and a noir gentility.
Mugler was all about parachuting and aviation with tinges towards bondage. The manic color neons patterned against the inky blacks in wool and techie sport fabrics highlighted the semi-erotic fit that you kind of expect from Mugler. Hermes also showed a collection that had active inspiration. This collection was sport-infused luxury that was very refined. Think 007 at the ski lodge in Vail to 007 at the lodge's daytime social function the next day. The ski slope inspiration came through with the soft quilted padding on trim wool trousers, leather hiking boots and color blocked ski-instructor turtlenecks. Ossendrijver showed a great collection for Lanvin with volume, something the house has become stellar at. The cocoon shapes paired with trim pants and the voluminous pants paired with body conscious tops could be frumpy but cut just so, they came off as appropriately modern and elegant. The quilting, pressed leather and pony skins are given fresh treatments to not seem stodgy and are dealt with a youthful active and easy verve especially when paired with the chunky Lanvin trainer. The oversize tees are a cool way to suggest influence from urban culture with sartorial sensibilities which is how many a modern guy thinks and approaches dressing. This is why the collection is so cool; it's a blending of the styling in mens cultures as opposed to an artistic interpretation of a theme.
Lim in Paris is a good look. His 3.1 Phillip Lim collection was a great standout of patchwork fabrics that seemed like a cool modern camouflage with fragmented elements of masculine themes like the military, racing and motocross. It was all reinterpreted for the modern man who enjoys fashion and specialty pieces. Junichi Abe's collection for Kolor was 'Paris with whimsy'. Puffer vests, tailored jackets, duffel coats, denim-style jackets and knitwear were layered unconventionally and given detailed elements like fade-dyed hems. My favorite was a knit jacket that was avant color-blocked on one side surrounding the placket. Carven also showed a collection with whimsy. Abbreviated outerwear was shown over shrunken jacket and high cropped pants and pops of bold color was used in unexpected ways like bright red dyed fur around the hood of a heather grey snorkel. Damir Doma is known for a dark side with a bit of bizarre thrown in. Now picture that dark side just a bit more refined for Fall with great loosely tailored and cozy silhouettes and even cozier textures like velvets and pebbly wools. This collection further shows Doma's versatility between the avant and the refined especially with details like optical twisted black stripes down the sleeves and torsos of jackets.
There was dark escapade from one designer. Ann Demeulemeester showcased the dark voyage of a young priest with long trim breezy Goth-style coats and fluid drapey trousers paired with some pretty kick-ass knee-high combat boots. Meanwhile, there was a more collected almost clinical dark presented at Dior Homme. Perhaps it was a message of symmetry and precision but the collection was full of invisible zippered closures that replaced buttons and disguised pockets. Graphic of a triangle in a circle were printed onto jacket and shirt fronts with the graphic extending over to incorporate the sleeves with a laser like precision. Side release closures replaced buttons on jackets, outerwear and even dress shirts with a mix of natural and techie fabrics.
Another great tailoring story ushered in with Valentino. It was an 'oh so elegant' polished collection of superb suiting with a touch of proper English dandy meets the sexy Parisian aristocrat. The blocked vinyl dipped panels on outerwear were visually a nice touch while the textural scarves tucked and implemented behind lapels and buttons were an interesting way to update the suit. The outerwear was strong from the fur treatment on overcoats to the camouflaged trenches that only served to add a bit of spice to this sartorial soup. Berluti also showed strong tailoring for the noir young dandy of sorts. The clothes were decadently Parisian with nods to Milanese tailoring with everything being utterly luxurious, sumptuous and wearable. Balenciaga had some great menswear shapes and seemed to take inspiration this season form British mod with cropped bell pants, mod boots and cool outerwear all updated and pared down by modern gritty texture. Thom Browne sent out a collection that had a strong message about structure with shaped quilted suits, layered on top of other quilted under layers like long jackets trimmed in fur and quilted tunics.
Yohji Yamamoto showed kilts in his collection and heavy Scottish countryside influences. There were full cut languid suits under shetland style long drapey cardigans and crisp sturdy tailoring with a rustic air. Christophe Lemaire sent out a collection of great swaddling shapes making for comfy and easy full cut menswear. Lemaire is dressing the non-twink in comfortable tailored clothing with a nod to the 80's in a relaxed dark-hued smooth air. Junya Watanabe's homeless tramp never looked so cool. His was a great collection peppered with some great menswear textures that had cool depth to them highlighted by the layering of shapes like vests over jackets and jackets over jackets and then patches over patches at the center front of jackets that crossed over the left and right sides as though center front wasn't there. The dropped crotch trousers worked well with the theme in what, I must say, was a very wearable nice collection.
Rounding out Paris was Hedi Slimane's collection for Saint Laurent. It was rock & roll boys in true Slimane fashion. Skinny ripped jeans paired with familiar rock & roll menswear staples trimmed the hell out in glam rock and grunge glory. Plaids, textures, fuzzy and clean leather took center stage with Yves' sophistication and Slimane's nods to Cobain, Hendrix, the Stones, the Beatles and Jagger. The schtick was ultra cool and this collection will verifiably sell well. Then, I just love Yasuhiro's texture for Miharayasuhiro. The romantic prints on the suitings, chunky lustrous cable knit vests with scarves and the sparkly rock & roll Bowie kind of textures to suits all showcased his great vision in taking Western ideas, adding a touch of whimsy and 'look twice' details. Last but not least, Alexander Wang and T by Alexander Wang were easy comfy refreshments. Wang's signature line had great pared down sportswear separates inspired by active outerwear and a dressed up punk attitude with slim cropped trousers and that downtown verve. Then honestly I could've lived in this T collection all day everyday. It was basic shapes highlighted by texture that gave them a balanced laid-back depth that stood out as 'better' casual clothing. All in all, a diverse showing from Paris. So bone up now; Fall 2013 will be here before you know it!
*All photos courtesy of Style.com